Suspect in Southington murder-attempted suicide clings to life

Published on Monday, 4 June 2018 21:32


SOUTHINGTON - Robert DeSantis allegedly shot and killed his one-time girlfriend, Michelle Barrett, and confessed to the killing to one of his family members before shooting himself in the head in the parking lot of the Naugatuck Police Department.

As of late Monday morning, DeSantis, 40, remained at an area hospital in “extremely serious” condition, Southington Lt. Stephen Elliott said. He is expected to be charged if he survives.

The motive for the killing remains unclear.

Police said the investigation is ongoing, and that several questions remain unanswered. DeSantis, according to Elliott, did not have any firearms registered in his name.

“That’s one of the things we are still presently investigating: how he came to be in possession of a handgun.” Elliott said, adding that investigators do not yet know who owned the revolver that was used.

Police are also trying to piece together the events that led to the shooting in an effort to discover a possible motive. Detectives have interviewed family members of DeSantis and Barrett, but they still need to examine a number of electronic devices, including cell phones and computers. They have not been able to speak with DeSantis.

“He’s not in a state to be speaking right now,” Elliott said.

“His wounds are very serious.”

The investigation into Barrett’s death began early Sunday after DeSantis, a Naugatuck resident, called a relative and said he had killed Barrett, 41, according to the Southington police. The relative, thinking the incident occurred in Naugatuck, called the Naugatuck police, who then traced Barrett to her grandmother’s home address in Southington, at 58 Manor Road.

Southington police were called at 6 a.m. Sunday to check on Barrett. At the grandmother’s home, officers found that Barrett was dead in the back yard after being shot once with a .38-caliber revolver. Police believe she may have been shot around 1 a.m., as some neighbors reported hearing a noise at that time. Barrett’s grandmother was inside asleep during the killing. She was not hurt.

Detectives were present for Barrett’s autopsy Monday morning, but they had not yet relayed the results to Elliott before a press conference late Monday morning at the Southington Police Department.

Sometime before Barrett’s body was discovered, DeSantis drove himself to the Naugatuck Police Department and shot himself in the head while he was parked in the lot, Elliott said. Elliott speculated that he may have gone there because Naugatuck police were trying to get in contact with him after receiving a call from his relative, who has not been identified.

Elliott said that at one time DeSantis and Barrett were a couple, but he did not say exactly when.

There were no protective or restraining orders between the two at the time of her death, and Elliott said there was no history in Southington of any disturbances between the two. They each have children, between the ages of teens and their 20s, but they have no children in common, according to Elliott.

Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Southington Herald, Bristol on Monday, 4 June 2018 21:32. Updated: Monday, 4 June 2018 22:02.